Junior Mike Hass returns after a 1,000-yard receiving season and will be the Beavers go-to receiver in 2004. Hass enjoyed a breakout year in 2003 catching 44 catches for 1,013 yards and seven touchdowns. Although being labeled as a slow receiver he proved he could get behind defenses time and time again. Despite his success in ’03, he has much to prove this season as defenses will focus on him.
|Hass made some incredible catches in 2003.|
Many believe Hass has the skills to succeed as the Beavers primary receiver. He had a good spring camp and was by far the best receiver on the field. Dependable hands and crisp routes define his play. This year the coaching staff will ask him to run shorter, more precise patterns such as curls and slants in order to get the ball in his hands, much like Newson was asked to do last year,.
Senior George Gillett and junior Josh Hawkins have plenty of game experience but had disappointing seasons in 2004. Gillett caught just eight passes for 168 yards in 12 games while Hawkins managed to grab just four passes for 62 yards in 13 games. Their low numbers had a lot to do with Newson and Hass’ success, but with Newson gone the two will be given a chance to prove themselves. Neither possesses blazing speed and both have yet to impress coaches. This year’s fall camp is put up or shut up time for the two upper classman.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Powers (6-1, 203) moved atop the depth chart and provides the quarterbacks with a big target. He is still raw, but could become the next All-Pac-10 receiver at Oregon State. Senior Cole Clasen, who got lost in the shuffle last year, sits behind Powers and could be a big factor in 2004. Clasen possesses dependable hands and is fearless. He apparently does not take his personal safety into account when he catches passes over the middle.
Anthony Wheat-Brown switched from free safety to wide receiver late in spring camp and climbed the depth chart to the starting position. Wheat-Brown is a small target at 5-foot-10, but is quick and strong enough to wrestle the ball out of defensive back’s hands.
|Powers could be the next all-conference receiver at OSU.|
Cornerback Brandon Browner also worked out with the receivers late in camp and could see time on defense and on offense come fall. He is tall, fast, and lanky. Browner’s athleticism could provide the Beavers with a needed deep threat. Browner doesn’t need to catch passes to be an asset to the Beavers’ passing attack. By simply lining up, he will force defenses to pay attention, thus freeing up coverage for other receivers. Running back Charles Burnley also had a shot at receiving and impressed coaches with his quick feet.
Two junior college transfers, Kevin Swanigan and Marcel Love, will be watched closely as they are expected to give the receiving crop a lift. Swanigan participated in spring camp, but did not excel and ended spring camp third on the depth chart. He is a big target but does not have the speed to stretch the defense. Love has a reputation as a tough, rugged receiver who is solid over the middle.
Incoming freshman will have plenty of opportunity to play. Brandon Hughes, Burnell Wallace, and Sammie Stroughter will all compete for playing time and could steal a starting spot with a strong showing in August. Wallace looked extremely fast on film and could be used to go deep.
During the past two fall camps one receiver has impressed coaches, gone on to grab a starting role, and contribute mightily during the season. Clasen accomplished this in 2002 while Hass made a statement in 2003.
All in all, the coaches have a nice group of talented players to choose from;
they just have to find who wants it the most and who best fits into the offense’s